Why do we smile?

by | Oct 15, 2019 | Dentures Blog

Smiling is one of the most recognisable ways we as humans can do to express our emotions and happiness in a non-verbal way.

There are over a million reasons to make us smile, from enjoying our favourite flavour of ice-cream and laughing at a joke, to being with friends or watching an amazing film at the cinema.

When we feel good, it shows! It’s the same for sadness, anger, surprise, disgust – all are produced through the various 43 muscles in our face to help us connect with each other when we socialise.


Ever wonder what makes us grin in the first place?

Let’s find out.

The Evolution of Smiling

It’s hard to pinpoint where the smile comes from.

However, by looking back to our ancestors and closest relatives – apes, animals to a certain extent share this kind of behaviour.

When animals bare their teeth, this is usually a sign of aggression if they feel threatened or fearful. Yet with primates, teeth baring can be used for a different reason. According to Professor Antony Manstead, “primate smiles – at least in many species – are believed to signal submission or appeasement …”

Types of Smiles

As you can see, smiling exists in both humans and animals alike, and there are many different types of smiles too.


The ‘Duchenne’ smile uses both the zygomatic major muscle (raising the corners of the mouth) and the orbicularis oculi muscle (raising the cheeks and leaving wrinkles or “crow’s feet” next to the eye.) As a result, endorphins are released to lower our stress levels and make us happy.


Those who feign a smile, tend to lack any eye involvement. That’s why when we “say cheese” for the camera, odds are we are subconsciously put under a degree of pressure to emote a genuine smile.


An uncomfortable smile can be caused by feelings of unease or distress, whether that’s being stuck in an awkward situation or told something inappropriate. These are usually designed to cover our true emotions and is easy to spot, especially with closed lips and strained laughter.   

Smile with Us

At Smiles & More, we know how important our patient’s happiness is, and having the confidence to smile.

If you are experiencing any discomfort or damage with your teeth, dentures could be the answer to restoring your smile.

Smiles & More’s high level of expertise in Cosmetic Dentures and Dental implant solutions ensure you are in the right place to help you achieve a natural, brighter look.

Find out more about how we can give you another reason to smile – call your nearest clinic or Ask Gary today for a free consultation to discuss the different types of new dentures available.